Since septic tanks are buried underground, it’s easy to not really understand all of the moving parts within the system. One of these parts that is often forgot about, or homeowners simply don’t know exists is the distribution box. A septic tank’s distribution box (or a D-box) is a container that receives the septic tank effluent and re-distributes it into the network of attached drain fields and pipes. To put it simply, its job is to evenly distribute the wastewater into the leach field. Once the wastewater flows out of the septic tank, it moves to the distributor box and then out into the leach fields.
The size and shape of your septic tank’s distribution box is dependent on the size of your septic system itself. They are most commonly constructed out of concrete or plastic with a design that encompasses several holes to allow for easy flow out into the leach fields.
How Do I Find My Septic Tank Distribution Box?
- The location of the distribution box depends mostly on space and layout of the septic’s drain field.
- If your layout consists of a rectangular and level drain site, it’s likely that your distribution box will be located near the edge of the drain field, closest to the septic tank.
- You can also look for a depression in the ground between the septic tank and drain field a couple of feet in diameter.
While a D-box does not need to be pumped regularly like your septic tank, it should be inspected to make sure it is in proper working condition. Some important inspection points of your distribution box are:
- Outlets & Openings – Most well-designed systems will allow for the outlet openings to be adjusted to regulate the flow if necessary.
- Uneven Distribution – If a D-box has tilted or tipped, this could result in distribution to only one section of leach fields, which could result in overflow of effluent to the surface, or a system backup or clog.
- Interior – The interior of your distribution box can indicate some issues with your system (past or present), like flood lines.
Inspections help to ensure that your system is working properly before major issues occur or warning signs are presented. By being proactive, you can make minor adjustments or repairs as needed to hopefully prevent unnecessary large issues, failures, or backups.
A concrete D-box can typically last up to 20 years. However, in the event of sludge buildup, tree root invasions, improper maintenance, heavy machinery on top of the box or other issues that can cause unrepairable damage to your distribution box, you may need to replace it. Some signs of a failed box could look very similar to a septic tank system blockage or a leach field issue. For this reason, having your professional plumber come out to first properly diagnose the problem is so important. Learn more about leach field issues and maintenance here.
If you are in need of septic tank system maintenance and or replacement of any of the system’s parts or pipes Kulk’s Plumbing & Heating can help! Contact us today with any questions, septic tank repair or replacement needs, and to get your septic inspection today!